"I Am Not Scared" Project
Violence – discovered by students, forgotten by teachers
A 15-year-old teenage girl was hospitalized in serious condition at City Hospital after she was beaten by a classmate during a school break.
The teenage girl told that she has been punched and hit with the head over the desk. "I was on my desk and she on the last desk of the class she was eating sunflower seeds during the class. I told her to stop. She cursed me and the teacher took her in front of the class and asked her some questions regarding the class theme and because she couldn’t answer she took a bad mark. During the break she punched me and hit me with the head over the desk and when I felt down she hit me also with the feet”.
Following the incident, the classmates have called 112, and the girl was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Several approaches have been made to solve the case:
- firts the police began the research in this case, and the girl was charged with assault and amended with 100 RON in the presence of her father. Also the school was informed. The amount of the fine was determinate by the number of days of medical care received by the student.
- in turn, the lead College, where the incident occurred, started the verifications in this case.
The school leaders called an emergency council meeting with all the teachers to discuss the case and the situation that was created. They tried to find information about the two students, which were the causes that led to these facts and how it might intervene to end this case and especially to avoid possible future situations of violence among students at school.
The parents of the two girls have also been contacted and called to attend the meeting. Have been discussed any family problem that could facilitate this violent behavior, was discussed if there were in the past such situations between their daughter and other people and of course were invited to cooperate with teachers in solving this case. School counselor insisted that parents should attend the counseling sessions with the students.
The schoolgirls have agreed to enter in a counseling program, with individually sessions and together with the parents and the other student involved.
Following the analysis of the case and the discussions with the two students, parents, teachers and school counselor, it was decided that the most drastic sanction which will be taken, will be to of the two students. "There are two students who have not caused problems so far, the most drastic sanction that we will take, will be to give to the students lower grades for school indiscipline”.
At the school level were also carried out several activities, as the school management and the teachers discussed the situation and concluded that it is better for such students and the other students who witnessed or heard of this situation, to find out what happened and which are the effects and the impact of such violent events. A process of awareness and involvement of students in combating and preventing the bullying phenomenon in schools was absolutely necessary.
Each form teacher has organized various activities on combating school violence, and even the school counselor was invited to speak to students about the effects of such violent situations. Students were engaged in awareness activities, debates and were placed in a position to solve different hypothetical cases. Also students were invited to create a closer connection with the teachers or school counselor and to dear to contact them when they faced with conflict situations, to try to find together solutions.
The case had a negative impact on the students directly involved. The aggressed student was very affected by the conflict; she had several days of hospitalization, which fortunately did not result with serious problems. But then were needed more counseling and support sessions from school counselors and the parents to overcome the emotions and the feelings of panic, anger, revulsion, revenge and self-locking.
Also the aggressive student was also affected by the lower grade for the behavior issues, she had to pay the fine and then had to lead with a very tough work to overcome such situations, to eliminate the aggressive feelings and to gain again the parents and teachers confidence.
The case had also a negative impact on parents who were shocked by those happened and had to give a better further attention to their daughters. The parents of the violent student had to pay its fine, which affected them because they are already facing financial problems.
Classmates of the students were admonished for how they reacted. Rather than intervene and settle the two colleagues, they were amused and a colleague even filmed the scene and posted it online. The student who filmed also has been sanctioned disciplinarily, lower grades.
The situation had a negative impact on the school because it became under the attention of the school inspectorate, also the movie with the scene posted on YouTube and then broadcasted on television produced a very bad image of the school.
The student, who was assaulted, told about what happened, without changing the statement, regardless of who would have spoken, which made it clear that she didn’t lie. "I was on my desk and she on the last desk of the class she was eating sunflower seeds during the class. I told her to stop. She cursed me and the teacher took her in front of the class and asked her some questions regarding the class theme and because she couldn’t answer she took a bad mark. During the break she punched me and hit me with the head over the desk and when I felt down she hit me also with the feet”.
The student said about her colleague that she always has a cold and repulsive behavior and that if someone says something to her she always not agree, cursing and addressing bad words, but until now has never reacted violently. She mentioned that does not realize what she did to upset her so much.
Immediately after she was discharged from the hospital, her attitude towards her classmate who assaulted her was that she have to be expelled from the school, because she was afraid to resort again to violent gestures. But after the counseling sessions and class activities carried out in school regarding the violent behavior of the students in schools, and after she saw that the aggressive classmate understood what she did wrong and that she feels sorry, she agreed not to expelled her, because that would have a more negative charge on her behavior.
The student who produced the conflict said that she do that because her colleagues always laugh at her and not leave her in peace and tell what to do. "I was provoked, she always has to comment, I was angry...”
The student realized that was a wrong gesture and she apologized and cooperated very well in the process of reintegration.
Because the situation was consumed in the classroom during the break, all colleagues of the two girls were witnesses. They noted that they have heard the two arguing and addressing words, but did not believe that it will be end it with a fight. They were aware that they have not acted correctly by not intervened to separate them, but they have not thought it’s so seriously. Colleagues have said about aggressive colleague that is not the first time, that they heard her before responding aggressively and addressing bad words.
After the movie with the fight appeared on YouTube and on television, the school teacher came to class and talked with students to identify the student who shot. He was held responsible and sanctioned disciplinarily. The student did not want to say a lot about what he did.
Following this event and the activities that took place they realized that they did wrong and how much it mattered and would have changed the situation if they would have reacted differently.
Both, the form teacher and teacher who has been in the class before the incident, said that they did not knew that there were conflicts between the two students. Teacher who has been in the class before the incident said that he heard two girls talking, but not heard addressing rude words and when he saw that the student eat seeds during the class of high, asked her some questions regarding the class theme and because she couldn’t respond she received a small grade.
Teachers have been very cooperative in resolving this case and were very involved in starting an awareness campaign on the effects and consequences of violent behaviors.
Should be held more school activities regarding the school violence prevention. It is better to prevent than constantly struggling to solve cases and to combat. There should be more debates and activities to encourage the students to express them self, avoiding the evolution of conflicts. Students are often faced with minor disputes, but can reach very serious cases.
It is better that these students to be prepared and know how to manage such situations. Also it is very important to have during the disciplinary classes more and more time to discuss relevant aspects to the issue of violence (individual rights and duties, freedom and rules / rule of conduct, and consequences of decision making, social skills, etc.) and as many extra-curricular programs and activities (anti-violence week, competitions / exhibitions, inviting experts to present in an interactive way about the school violence issues, and to involve students, teachers and parents).
The school principal said that he was not informed until now neither by teachers nor by the students that there are disputes between the two students. Also the schoolgirls have not been involved until now in any form of aggression in school. The school principal also mentioned that he is responsible for the school image created and that will work with the teachers and the county school inspectorate and will take all necessary steps to solve this case. And will begin in school more efficient activities to prevent such future violent situations between students. Also during the teachers council the Director will pay more attention to this matter and will advise form teachers to try to pay more attention to students and to identify potential conflicts between them.
The school director spoke about the importance of having in school prevention strategies in cases of school violence. The director said that some proposals will be addressed to the teachers to be discussed:
- Early identification of potentially violent students;
- Active involvement of students with violent potential and exploitation of them interests, skills and abilities of the students who have committed acts of violence;
- Violence - theme on the agenda of the formal meetings of the school council;
- A better knowledge of possible sources of violence;
- The transformation of the School Regulation from formal instrument in a real and efficient instrument of prevention and intervention;
- At school level - the role of mediating structures;
- Programs to inform students on appropriate methods of management of specific situations of violence (self-control, conflict negotiation, communication, means of self-defense).
The parents were shocked and reacted very vehemently in this situation. They wanted that the aggressive student to be punished and to solve the situation not only in short terms, to avoid happening these kinds of situations. Also, parents agreed with their cooperation in counseling sessions and involvement in solving this case. And also the parents have realized the need to be closer to their daughters, and to monitor them more often.
The parents of both girls said that there should be given in school more seriously attention to such situations, there should be some regulation and stricter rules and perhaps most important to have more activities in which the children are talking about school violence and negative examples to be given to realize the negative effects and consequences of violent behaviors.
Some children are impulsive and do not think to the consequences of their behavior, they want to dominate others, to exercise their power and control over other children. They want to feel important in front of colleagues.
There are significant associations between violent behavior of students and a number of family factors such as:
- Socio-emotional climate (strained relations between parents, parental violent attitudes towards child, emotional security, lack of free environment);
- Type of family (students from dysfunctional families);
- Family economic conditions (insufficient income);
- Family size (number of children in family situations involving, often, increased poverty phenomenon);
- Low educational level of parents.
Regarding this case, the aggressive student came from a tense family, the father is very authoritatively and have an aggressive behavior not only to the children but also to the wife, and is very easy for the child to borrow this behavior. Due to the student mother who realized much easier the situation, cooperated and helped the father also to realize and to provide support in this process through its awareness that the student could be expelled from the school.
The role of the counselor is very important and helped students to talk about what made her act violent and especially to realize the effects and consequences of this behavior.
The school Inspectorate action and sent an inspector to analyze the situation. He had discussions with teachers, the form teachers, students and their parents involved in the incident. He required a better involvement of the school management on this issue by carrying out activities to prevent school violence in which both pupils and parents to be involved. Also internal school regulations has been verified and proposed to be improved.
The school management will work towards strengthening relations with partners from the community (local council, police, NGOs and others) which can have a greater impact on students.
Violence in schools is a particularly delicate problem. In the old days school represented a much more rigorous public institution. Today, the school world got a high permeability, assimilating tensions and dysfunctions of society.
This situation held in school, marked all its members and made aware of the serious consequences of such conflicts. The importance of prevention is essential, students are easily influenced. It is necessary to have already assimilated some skills and knowledge to know how to deal with these situations. And the worst they have the ability to borrow the violent behaviors they see on the street, on television or even in family.
Teachers and the school should put more emphasis on:
- Preparing students in preventing juvenile delinquency and victimization prevention;
- Training the teachers and counselors in bullying issues;
- Meetings with teachers and parents;
- Other activities for informing and involving students in educational and prevention actions.
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I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2017 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission